17 Sep 2013

A bright new future

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful ~ William Morris

The image above was one of the break through moments I had recently while working in my pocket journal. I've been struggling for years with clutter and over the last couple of years I have really started to look at 'stuff ' in a different way. It took a long time though for me to realize that my stuff owned me more than I owned it. This may sound strange but I've found it to be true. My stuff rules my life. I have to pay for it when I buy it, then spend lots of time and/or money looking after it, and even then it's not finished with. I may have to pay someone to take it away, or spend time listing it to sell, or spend money dumping it or donating it. Then there is the inherited stuff that has the emotional ties to it, you can't just dump 'great whoevers' stuff can you? Not to mention wedding keepsakes, birthday presents and other gifts etc. Add being an artist into that mix and suddenly you have piles of art and craft stuff added to the house as well.  Don't get me wrong I'm not a hoarder like you see on tv with stuff piled to the ceiling and no room to walk around. We can see the floor in every room but the cupboards are full and there are lots of books, toys, art supplies etc stored in extra storage spaces around the house. The kitchen cupboards and drawers are full and I won't even mention the garage/workshop area.

I've had enough of clutter and I want to make some big changes starting from today. So from now on my blog is going to be a bit more of a mixture of topics. I hope you don't mind. I want this blog to be a record of my art learning and decluttering along with sharing some links to other interesting art and minimalism blogs and any tips and tricks I find along the way. I really enjoy these minimalism blogs Becoming Minimalist and Zen Habits and also Miss Minimalist and the art blogs that are listed here in the side bar in my favorite bloggers list. There are loads of other great blogs too but I haven't yet found an artist minimalist blog. I guess it is a hard niche to fill because you have this urge to declutter things but it can be hard not to collect things to add into your mixed media or other art works. I'm not sure if this will even work but I'm willing to give it a try. 

So I think with new beginnings should come a new blog title. Say goodbye to "My first artist's journal and blog" and say hello to "Simple Life, Simple Art"

Have a great week :)

Good Intentions

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Have you ever noticed that when you are sure about something and make a statement about it, for example "Hopefully this will be the start of weekly posting from now on" that life has a way of making a liar out of you? It did for me lol. My last blog post was in July. I got as far as painting the boys birthday cards that I had drawn and then went down with a nasty case of flu. I spent a miserable week moping around the house and then another two weeks stuffed up with a head cold before it hit me with it's final blow and gave me a sinus infection. It's been a really nasty flu this year, everyone that I know that's had it, has had it for weeks with it morphing into various forms before they have finally gotten rid of it. Autumn and winter are usually my favorite seasons but this year I welcomed spring very gladly. Anyway, I'm back again and I'm going to post on here anytime I feel like it :D That should fix the life making a liar out of me problem lol.

The image above was painted today in my new Stillman and Birn Zeta sketchbook. I've never tried one of their books before but I love this one! I ordered it months ago and had to wait because the Zeta wasn't available here in New Zealand yet. It was well worth the wait. I love the smoothness of the paper for my pen work and the pen didn't bleed on the paper when I wrote, like it has in some other books. The paper didn't warp or buckle at all no matter how wet it got from the paints either. I think I have a new favorite journal. However, they don't make this journal in the 4" x 6" size that I prefer for my go everywhere pocket book so I think that when my small journal is finished I'll try the Stillman and Birn Alpha series out. I can't wait!

Speaking of my small journal, I've been working in it a lot while I've been sick but at the moment there's more writing than images in it. I had a couple of break through moments in this journal during my illness though. The image below was one of them. 

I realized that I wasn't anymore productive in my new large work space than I was before I got it. In fact I was probably less so. My huge desk seemed to be a clutter magnet and I had taken over way too much of the lounge. I also found that it made my art space very business like and I really needed it to be more fun and inspiring. Great for business type things but not so good for getting my mind into the creative play zone I need to draw and paint. I did learn that I prefer an "L-shaped" work space so I traded my large desk for a couple of smaller ones. Luckily I'd bought cheap 2nd hand so I didn't lose out on the deal. I've also worked out what work zones I need and what works for me. 

Work zone 1
My main work area. This is a 4' by 2' (1.2m x .6m) desk no higher than 29" (.73m) high so that I can use my angled work surface on the top for my watercolor paintings on flat sheets of paper. I work flat on the table top in my journals. For larger acrylic paintings I can use a table easel on the top. I have this situated at right angles to a window so that I have good light. I also have my paints and brushes etc on a shelf near by in work zone 3.

Work zone 2
My computer area. This forms the other half of my "L-shaped" work space. I pay the bills here, blog, photoshop, scan paintings etc from this desk. I have a shelf underneath to file things straight away, this helps to keep the clutter from this area from overflowing into my art space but ensures that I can find anything at a moments notice. This area also houses my scanner and graphics tablet on a wheeled trolley that My husband built for me. The desk is against the wall to cut down screen glare. The only thing here that doesn't really work for me is my chair, I really need to replace it. 

Work zone 3
My storage/thinking/relaxing zone. This area has a large cubby type bookcase where I store all my paints, brushes, art books, camera gear, spare canvases, craft supplies and finished works and journals. This is situated just a scoot on my wheeled office chair away from my other work spaces. Because I work in a space between the dining/kitchen and lounge rooms I have easy access to hot drinks or cold and a comfortable seating area to sit in while I sketch out plans or read through my art books. It's my storage/work and relaxation space. If I really want to chill out I can watch my tropical fish from this area.

That's my three work zones and they seem to be functioning a lot better now and I have the added bonus of more lounge space when family and friends come over.

Hope you all have a great week :)